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Be grateful to the linemen and those who braved the cold so we could have comfort

Severo Avila

Severo Avila is Features Editor at the Rome News-Tribune.

The late, great Glen Campbell once recorded a song called “Wichita Lineman.” It's a great ol’ song and some of the lyrics go like this:

"I am a lineman for the county

And I drive the main road

Searching in the sun for another overload

I know I need a small vacation

But it don't look like rain

And if it snows that stretch down south won't ever stand the strain"

I thought about that song this past weekend when the snow caused a whole bunch of power lines to come down and a lot of people all over Floyd and surrounding counties were without power.

As I drove down the snowy, icy roads in Rome and Rockmart, I saw those white trucks with the buckets all over the place. There were men and women in those trucks and up in those buckets working hard to restore power to probably thousands of people that needed it.

While many of us were enjoying the snow — playing in it, building snowmen, sledding and taking photos, a lot of our friends and neighbors were working to get power restored. They couldn't take the weekend off and just enjoy the snow. They had to get out in the bitter cold because customers demanded that their power be restored.

For the most part, the people who lost power — and there were lots of us — took it in stride. Some had generators, fireplaces or wood stoves to keep them warm. Some had to forego showering for a couple days. And I saw photos where people really embraced the fact that they had to unplug for a while. I loved seeing the photos of people getting together and making the most of a weekend without electricity by enjoying each other's company and by helping each other out.

But I also saw lots of complaints on social media about how long it was taking to get power restored, and it ticks me off that some folks can't grasp the fact that in a situation like this — where the weather has caused these outages — that it's no one's fault. The situation couldn't be helped. Yet people still got mad at the power company for not doing enough.

I know you pay your power bill every month and expect service. We all do. But the weather can't be helped. And I promise you that I was in the newsroom listening to the scanner all day Friday, and as soon as outages began to be reported, those power trucks were rolling down the road to begin repairs.

My house lost power and didn't get it back ’till Sunday afternoon. Friends of mine who live on Hutchins Mountain Road and Government Farm Road in Rockmart didn't get their power back ’till late Sunday night. And I think as of Monday morning there were still some folks in Floyd and Polk counties who hadn't gotten power back yet. But late Sunday night (in the bitter cold) I saw trucks on the road with power company employees working on the lines.

I know it was cold and miserable for some. I know you couldn't cook your food the way you wanted to and I know you may have someone in your home who is elderly or sick who needed the heat. But it couldn't be helped.

I know some probably couldn't get down their driveway for all the ice and snow. I know some of your children were driving you up the wall for not having all their electronic devices to distract them.

But we were all in the same boat. You didn't have it any worse than anyone else did.

And it wasn't just the power company employees braving the cold temperatures and slick, icy roads to make sure people's service was restored. The cable company had its employees out in the cold, too.

You'd think that with the power out in many areas, people wouldn't even bat an eye at the cable being out but some did. So folks like Comcast employees Blake Kirby, Lisa Beard and Chris Pruett worked all weekend getting people's cable restored and weren't done ’till Monday morning. They were cold and tired, but they had a job to do.

And of course, there were law enforcement officers and fire fighters dashing all over the county from wreck to wreck or from one fallen tree to another. There were plumbers and electricians who worked hard this weekend, so we could be comfortable once again.

And the nurses and doctors (some of whom had to sleep on hospital couches) who worked long hours because the next shift couldn't get to the hospital or clinic, can't be overlooked either.

My appreciation goes out to all these folks and anyone else who had to forego a fun snowy weekend because they were called upon to do extra work due of the weather.

I know it's their job. And I know they get paid to do it. And I know some probably got paid well to work overtime. But you know what? I wouldn't wanna be up in a bucket in the freezing cold trying to fix a power line.

So my hat's off to the men and women who busted their butts to make sure the power and cable were restored as quickly as possible all over the county.

We appreciate y'all.

Severo Avila is features editor for the Rome News-Tribune